At The University of Law, we understand the importance of good mental health and wellbeing when it comes to achieving your goals. Whether it’s exam deadlines, job interviews, or just one of those hectic days, it can all contribute to our overall stress levels. As we come to the end of Stress Awareness Month, we have compiled some easy methods that can help you in reducing this not-so-welcome feeling.
By Elsa Tatam. Published 20 April 2023. Last updated 14 August 2023.
Take a break
When something is causing us stress, it’s natural to dwell on it and to start overthinking in order to find a solution. However, sometimes the best way to overcome the problem is to separate ourselves from the situation in order to get some headspace and return to the problem with a fresh mindset.
When focusing on one thing for too long, your concentration and productivity are lowered. According to Cornell University, research shows that taking short but purposeful breaks from studying to refresh your brain and body will increase your energy, productivity, and your ability to concentrate. So, take a break, go for a walk and spend time with friends and you will see your productivity bounce back and your mood brighten.
Indulge in hobbies
We all know the importance of taking a break away from it all, but it is also important to set time aside for your hobbies. Doing things that we enjoy allows us to find a little bit of joy every day and improves our mood in general.
Taking time out to indulge in our hobbies can be difficult when juggling an already busy schedule, however, making time for these things gives us something motivating or calming to enjoy at the end of a long day. It doesn’t have to be anything exciting, it could painting, going to the gym, watching your favourite TV series, or even cooking your favourite meal for dinner- it is so important to make just a little bit of time and put yourself first.
Take a step away from the world
To recharge your batteries and truly unwind, it is important to have time with just yourself. Research shows that people who are comfortable with time alone experience increased happiness and better stress management. Spending time alone is linked to better life satisfaction and lower rates of depression. By recharging your social battery you will enjoy your time with your peers more when you do see them and you will get more out of the other areas in your life as you will go in with more vigour than perhaps you would have done otherwise.
Keep an eye on screen time
It is incredibly tempting after a long day of using all your brain power to use your computer or phone before bed. However, studies have shown that these devices interfere with sleep by suppressing the production of melatonin, a natural hormone released in the evening to help you feel tired and ready for sleep. Sutter Health found in a study that just two or more hours of screen time in the evening can seriously disrupt the melatonin surge needed to fall asleep. Consider turning off all electronic devices at least one hour before sleep, at a minimum. Instead, try reading a book, meditating or listening to calming music.
Make a separate workspace (where possible)
To help your brain switch off when you are relaxing, your workspace should ideally be separate from the area you relax in. When these places are somewhat jumbled, it will be difficult to complete any tasks at all as you will be wanting to relax, or it will be hard to switch off as you will be looking at your work in the corner. Having a separate space to work helps to ensure that your mental associations with these places are distinct and unconnected. If you do not have the space for a separate workspace at home, do you have somewhere you can go to separate studying from resting, perhaps the library or a café? If you are not able to go anywhere, perhaps try “turning the room over” when you finish work- for example putting your laptop/work supplies away and out of sight or doing a quick clean of your workspace.
Find out more about how we support our student’s wellbeing as well as their ambitions by checking out our support hub.